How to Make an Epoxy Resin River Table

Hey Everyone, Jeremy Hoffpauir here.  Today, I show you how to make an epoxy resin river table using glow powder.  This live edge epoxy resin river table is made from sinker cypress and glows in the dark.  I also teach you how to embed objects in an epoxy resin river table.

 

Get Your FREE DIY plans for this project by clicking the red button at the bottom of this post.

 

If you haven’t watched the video or read the blog of my led epoxy resin river table project, you can find it here.  The leftover sinker cypress from this project and our need to find a matching table inspired me to create this table.

Repetitive tasks bore me easily and I dreaded the thought of making the same table twice.

Although this sinker cypress table matches the other live edge river table, it is very different with a unique feature – it glows in the dark without lights.

 

Tools I Use

Table Top Epoxy Resin http://amzn.to/2wTzygA

Glow Powder (Neutral Sky Blue)  https://goo.gl/8okFCu

Fire Glass http://amzn.to/2wCPGWn

HairPin Table Legs http://amzn.to/2vIP6Y8

UV Light Strip http://amzn.to/2yLs2cx

Micro Butane Torch http://amzn.to/2ynSc3x

Ryobi Circular Saw http://amzn.to/2wDneU1

Straight Edge for Saw http://amzn.to/2x8P7F3

Dewalt Planer http://amzn.to/2eHLYob

Air Compressor http://amzn.to/2yNuPSC

Air Compressor Hose & Retractable Reel http://amzn.to/2ysHKYo

Tack Cloth http://amzn.to/2zt0pC5

Level http://amzn.to/2gK40nt

Mixing Sticks http://amzn.to/2yNsW8e

Carpenter’s Square http://amzn.to/2gnJUlZ

Utility Pry Bar http://amzn.to/2xKFBZA

CA Glue http://amzn.to/2xJO0Yj

Hot Glue Gun http://amzn.to/2eLGvfU

Shellac http://amzn.to/2vIvF1v

Acetone http://amzn.to/2s5Gjcd

Porter Cable Heat Gun http://amzn.to/2tYzuKF

Silicon Caulk http://amzn.to/2t4qzuZ

Dovetail Clamps http://amzn.to/2vgpSLV

Renaissance Wax http://amzn.to/2zlD5Gv

Milwaukee Orbital Sander http://amzn.to/2tE4P64

Ryobi Orbital Sander http://amzn.to/2zlggmh

Sandpaper http://amzn.to/2s5rDJS

Boeshield Rust Free http://amzn.to/2yrF5hR

Rubber Gloves XL http://amzn.to/2xJHS2t

Ear Protection http://amzn.to/2ysoH0p

Eye Protection http://amzn.to/2yshsWp

Dust Mask http://amzn.to/2ysIX23

 

 

 

Sinker Cypress Wood

I used Sinker Cypress for this project as I have in many of my other projects.

This is the third sinker cypress table projects within the last 12 months.  I like using sinker cypress because it’s unique grain patterns, different colors, and durability.

Sinker Cypress is fairly soft, which makes it susceptible to dents and scratches.  I normally use sinker cypress for desks or entryway tables.

This piece of sinker cypress was already the correct length.  I cut the original piece in half for my previous project, so the remaining piece was exactly 48″ long.

 

Remove Bark

The first step in this project was to remove the bark.

I peeled away the loose bark with my old chisel that I recently resharpened.

Next, I used a rubber mallet and chisel to remove the bark I couldn’t peel off.

Then, smoothed the surface as much as I could without damaging the ‘live edge’ look of the wood.

Epoxy-Resin-River-Table_2

epoxy-resin-river-table-glowpowder_20171016_03

 

Milling Sinker Cypress

In order to save time and work later in the project, I needed to mill the sinker cypress to achieve straight sides,  a flat surface, square ends, and no loose debris.

 

Straight Sides

I needed to rip the sinker cypress in half with a straight edge, so I used my straight edge jig with dovetail clamps.

Without my straight edge jig, I could not secure the sinker cypress board to the table saw fence because both sides had a live edge (not straight).

First, I located the middle of the board by reading the grain pattern and measuring the front, middle, and back.

epoxy-resin-river-table-glowpowder_20171016_04

 

Next, I secured the sinker cypress to the jig using the dovetail clamps, raised my table saw blade, and pushed it through.  Then, I verified the sides were straight by putting them against each other.

 

Planing and Sanding

Planing and sanding are the final stages of the milling process.

I ran the sinker cypress through my planer and removed  1/64″ with each pass.  The wood was rough planed at the lumber yard, so there was no need to remove a lot of material.

Next, I used my orbital sander with 120 grit sandpaper to remove the loose debris from each live edge.

 

Square Ends

Each piece of sinker cypress had one straight side, so I was able to use my miter saw to square each end of each board – 4 cuts total.

epoxy-resin-river-table-glowpowder_20171016_10

 

Melamine

I kept the melamine scraps from my previous led epoxy resin river table project, but I did not have enough to enclose both pieces of sinker cypress in a box.

Since I made a HUGE mess and wasted a lot of epoxy resin, I used a new technique to seal the ‘river’ and prevent epoxy resin from leaking from the bottom.

First, I used a piece of melamine that was long enough for the sinker cypress.

epoxy-resin-river-table-glowpowder_20171016_11

 

The melamine was not wide enough to cover the bottom of  each board.  Each board was hanging off about 4 inches on each side, which didn’t matter because it didn’t fall off.

Next, I measured how wide I wanted the boards and make sure this width was consistent on both ends.  I marked the spot with a pencil once each end was parallel.

Then, I cut 2 end pieces of melamine a bit higher than the melamine plus sinker cypress. I attached it to the bottom melamine piece with brad nails.

Finally, I removed the sinker cypress from the melamine.

 

Apply Furniture Wax

I coated the melamine with Renaissance Furniture wax to prevent the epoxy resin from attaching to the melamine.

I used Johnson wax on my previous epoxy resin table projects, but I prefer Renaissance wax because it is a bit thicker and more greasy/wet.

epoxy-resin-river-table-glowpowder_20171016_12

 

Seal Melamine

I placed the 2 pieces of sinker cypress back on the melamine and lined them up with the pencil marks to ensure each end was the same length.

Next, I used hot glue to seal each end.  Then, I used silicone to seal the bottom of each live edge (length wise) to prevent the epoxy resin from seeping through.

 

Epoxy Resin Tub

There is a fair amount of epoxy resin on my workshop floor from the Walnut River Rock Table and LED Epoxy Resin River Table projects.

I built an outfeed table for my table saw and decided to make the underside of the table a tub to catch excess epoxy resin.  It’s not pretty, but it works.  😉

The underside of the table simply has 5 12″ 2×4 pieces which protrude vertically to hold pieces of various size.

I placed the sinker cypress table on the 2x4s.

Next, I verified the table was level with my leveler.  Then, I secured the sinker cypress to the melamine with scrap pieces of plywood and a combination of F-clamps and bar clamps.

 

Test Glow Powder

I wanted this epoxy resin river table look like the other table for matching/decorative purposes, but I also wanted it to be unique.

So, I decided to add glow powder, or photoluminescence powder, to the base epoxy resin layers. Consequently, the river bottom would glow from the river bottom through the fire glass.

My family and I love the ocean, so I chose a blue glow powder (link under ‘Tools I Used’).

To avoid a potential disaster, I tested the glow powder to verify the color before mixing it with epoxy resin.  It would be really BAD if I had the wrong color!

I purchased the glow powder from Art N Glow.  They included a black light with my purchase, which I used to verify the color of the powder.

epoxy-resin-river-table-glowpowder_20171016_18

 

The glow powder is charged by UV light, sunlight, or black light.

 

First Epoxy Resin Pour

For this project, I tried an epoxy resin from a different company.  I was happy with East Coast Resin, but I decided to use epoxy resin from Pro Marine Supply.  This Epoxy Resin worked much better!

Mixture and Ratio

I mixed 24 ounces of epoxy resin (12 ounces of hardener and 12 ounces of resin) per the manufacturers instructions which can be located on their website.

Next, I used a stir stick until the epoxy resin turned cloudy white.  It is important to stir the mixture and scrape the sides of the mixing cup.  Do NOT whip while stirring because it causes LOTS of bubbles.

Then, I added 2 ounces of glow powder.

epoxy-resin-river-table-glowpowder_20171016_22

Art N Glow recommends 1 part glow powder to 4 parts material; however, I feel this is too much for a few reasons:

  1. Too much glow powder may jeopardize the epoxy resin mixture.  I don’t have any proof of this, but it just seems logical to me from my experience with epoxy resin.
  2. Glow powder is not terribly expensive, but it isn’t cheap.  It’s roughly $6.00 per ounce.
  3. I don’t want a bright glow; rather, I prefer a subtle glow.

I continued to stir the mixture.  For my many mixtures of epoxy resin, I’ve noticed it ‘gives’ (becomes easier to stir) and turns clear when it is close to ready.

Since the glow powder prevents the material from turning clear, I payed attention to the consistency.  Once the epoxy resin was easy to stir, I knew it was ready to pour.

First Pour

I slowly poured the epoxy resin on the surface of the melamine.

 

 

Next, I removed the bubbles and worked the material with a heat gun.  I completely forgot to wipe the table with a tack cloth before pouring the material; therefore, the heat gun blew material in the epoxy resin.

 

I decided to use my micro butane torch to remove the remaining bubbles.

epoxy-resin-river-table-glowpowder_20171016_27

 

Second Epoxy Resin Pour

After 24 hours, I mixed another 24 ounces of epoxy resin and 2 ounces of glow powder for the second pour.

This is the same mixture as the first pour and the same process; however, I didn’t use the heat gun this time.

I am comfortable mixing 24 ounces of material in a single mixture due to the size of my container and mixing stick.

 

 

Sanding

Normally, I perform sanding at the end of my project. However, I ran out of resin, which is the reason why I sanded at this point in the project.

The sandpaper grits I used was 80 grit, 120 grit, and 220 grit.